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Are sugary drinks affecting your fertility?

Oftentimes people did not realise that sweet drinks actually contribute more to their daily sugar intake in comparison to sugary treats such as candies and baked goods. Sugary drinks are very sneaky in their added sugar. Take carbonated drinks like cola or lemon fizz as an example, the carbonated water is flavoured by their trademark syrup which is already made sweet yet the final touch to the recipe is to add more sugar to elevate the taste that is oh-so-familiar to everyone around the world.

 

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In Malaysia particularly, aside from the carbonated drinks, Malaysian is not truly Malaysian if we do not enjoy the likes of teh tarik or Milo dinosaur. It is also a norm for Malaysians to order sweet drinks every time we dine outside. Hence, it is easy to see how most of us are unaware of these sneaky drinks that actually made up a big part of our daily sugar intakes.

Do sugary drinks pose risks to your fertility health?

The answer is yes, sugary drinks and sugary treats affect the fertility health of both men and women alike. High sugar consumption will impact a person's overall health by being the cause of diabetes, weight gained that may cause heart-related problems, stroke and certain types of cancer. Consequently, high sugar consumption can also affect the health of your reproductive system.


 

How does sugar affects your fertility health?

Sugar in drinks or food has been proven to impact your reproductive systems either directly or indirectly through other medical conditions. As a direct result, a consistently high intake of sugar will cause an increase in our blood sugar levels which in turn prompts our body to produce more insulin. Insulin is the hormone that helps to control our blood sugar level and metabolism, both of which are needed to process your food intake into energy. When there is excess insulin or your body becomes insulin resistant, several medical conditions will develop in the aftermath.

Below is the list of possible medical conditions that could develop from high blood sugar.

 

Conditions   Explanations

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

 

PCOS is a hormonal disorder that affects women of reproductive age. Women with PCOS are more likely to need treatment to be able to conceive. Although the exact cause of PCOS is unknown, consistently high sugar intake is one of the PCOS dietary factors. Most women with PCOS develop a condition referred to as insulin resistance. This happens when insulin is unable to do its job properly but keeps on being produced which causes excess insulin in the body. This is why women with PCOS have an exaggerated insulin response when they consume sugar. 

   

 

Damage to eggs  

Research has managed to relate the high consumption of sugary drinks on a daily basis to women producing less quality or damaged eggs during their ovulation. This will make it difficult for them to have a successful conception. 

   

 

Low-quality sperm  

Similarly, men with high blood sugar are more likely to produce low-quality sperm or sperm with DNA fragmentation. Low-quality sperm lower your chance for successful conception while sperm DNA fragmentation increases the chances of miscarriages and potential birth defects.

   

 

Obesity  

It is well known that being overweight is related to many adverse health consequences. For women, being overweight may come with hormonal imbalances and diabetes type 1/type 2. This in return will disrupt the regularity of your menstrual cycle and reduce your chance to achieve pregnancy. 


For men, obesity can cause infertility through a combination of factors including hormonal imbalances, sexual dysfunctions, diabetes type 1/type 2 and sleep apnoea (serious sleep disorders). Men with obesity are more likely to produce low-quality sperm and have sperm DNA fragmentation. Both conditions are not ideal to have a successful conception either through the natural course or via assisted reproductive technology (ART). 

 

How to reduce the impact of sugar on your fertility health?

The good news is repairing these conditions is within our control. Here are several tips that can be immediately implemented to help lower your blood sugar level and lose your excess weight.

Exercise regularly on daily basis to improve your insulin activities as well as to lose excess weight. Established an exercise routine that includes your partner. Both of you overcoming this together would strengthen your bond and keep you optimistic.

Get enough sleep. Adult men and women need a regular 6 to 7 hours of sleep every day. Insufficient nighttime sleep can result in elevated blood sugar and insulin the next day.

Maintain a healthy and balanced diet. Try to have more whole-grain carbohydrates as they release sugar slowly into your blood, thus preventing a sudden spike in your blood sugar level. Aside from that, have more protein and fibre as they are able to balance your sugar level and aid in insulin regulation.

For men and women who are actively trying to be parents, it is best to have a fertility assessment to have the correct diagnosis of your condition. Depending on your assessment result, you and your doctor will be able to plan for a way forward that most suits your conditions and needs.

 


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